Look, A Guppy!


brian_icon.gif hadley_icon.gif

Scene Title Look, A Guppy!
Synopsis Brian bats his eyelashes and Mrs. Hadley folds like a cheap pack of cards.
Date June 26, 2009

Piece of Cake Bakery

The front room of the bakery is a long and narrow one. A great glass window covers the wall facing the street, so that anyone outside can see in. The door is glass as well; on bright days the shop is filled to the brim with sunshine. Drop lamps abovehead help at night, casting a warmer and softer light. Classic black and white tiling collects smudges more often than not on the floor and walls. In the back is a hallway which leads further to the kitchen, a small bathroom for customers to use, and a set of creaky stairs that go up to the second floor. The entire building is warm, and the air is redolent with the scents of pastry both savory and sweet, cookies, muffins, chocolate and fruit, bread and more.

A long, waist-high counter is on the left after stepping inside. The top is flat so purchases can be set down, and baked goods of all sorts are on display inside. Down at the far end is the cash register: leaving means walking past all the tempting wares all over again. Though it isn't particularly fancy, a coffee machine next to the register has a sign that reads "Donations": the cups and plain coffee are free, but change dropped inside goes to local charities. Three small bistro tables sit along the right wall; it's a tight fit, but three (or four if they're close friends) people can sit at each to enjoy a bite before going on their way. A bell above the door jangles merrily whenever it's opened.

It's getting fairly late, very close if not exactly closing time. Not many people out getting baked goods at this time. Except for one. But he isn't really out getting baked goods. The young man has been hanging across the street for some time now, waiting for people to clear off. He's been careful to watch, to make sure the good Mrs.Hadley hasn't come and locked the door while he's on the other side of the street. Eventually though, when he finds it clear, ex-Agent Winters makes his way across the street to the Piece of Cake bakery.

Pushing back his hood, Brian goes to grab the door and silently slip into the establishment. He remains silent, looking much similar to how he was earlier in the day. Except now, he dons a pair of aviators on the bridge of his nose.

Closing time means cleaning time. A low hum spills out from someone in the kitchen, likely Mrs. Hadley herself. It's an unfortunate truth that the poor woman couldn't carry a tune in the proverbial bucket (and she probably even has one available). At the sound of the jangling bells above the front door, she wanders out with broom in-hand and calls, "Hello! If you're quick, we can get one more cookie out the do…. why look at that, aren't you a surprise coming back so soon." The smile for Brian is an easy one. "Would you lock the door, dear? I really ought to have done it five minutes ago, but my hands were full."

"You're very trusting." Brian notes, turning to lock the door smoothly behind him. "After I run out earlier, you want me to the lock the door so it's just you and me. Locked in a building?" His hands come up to take off the aviators. "You do realize this is New York City. So if you don't mind me asking, how can you afford to be so trusting? I would put it down to naievty. But I doubt that is the case in this situation." Winters states roundly, seemimng much less.. bubbly than he had earlier in the day.

She clicks her tongue lightly, a faintly chiding sound. "I have had so many young men and women coming in and out of this bakery that one more running out the back isn't the end of the world, dear." Mrs. Hadley sets the broom lightly against the wall and bobbles around to stand with the counter between them, leaning forward a bit on her elbows while she peers at him. "If you wanted the register, you'd get a day's worth of cash and receipts, and nothing more. You don't strike me as the sort to smack an old woman around. And I already offered you cookies." Her smile is a wry thing, a rueful twist of lips. "Brian, was it? If I walked around the city suspicious and afraid of every young man who came in and looked threatening at me, I'd never leave my bedroom."

"I have a gun." Brian reports, not in a menacing, or threatening way. Simply informative. "I have two guns." He corrects. "But you're right, I don't intend to use it - them. Whatever. Yeah. Brian." Stepping up to the counter he goes to lean forward into the same position she is in. Leanin on the elbows, "Being a trusting person, I would assume you are also trustworthy. They usually go hand in hand, unless I'm an idiot and completely off. Can I tell you something?"

A brow arches at this information. The other brow goes up for the second gun. "I don't like guns," Mrs. Hadley notes mildly. "And I would very much appreciate it if you would keep them put away while you're in my bakery." There's no odd push behind it. Only a simple request. "You can tell me anything you like, dear." She taps a knuckle lightly against the glass. "And I'll do my very best to keep it to myself, hm?" That she might not be able to do so is accepted as a fact of life, her squinty gaze clear of concern.

"Of course. I only inform you out of respect." Brian says, bringing up his hands, palms facing out as if to say he wants no fight. "That girl today, who paid for my muffin?" He checks over his shoulder as if to check if the girl was still there. "I have no clue who she is." Winters admits, giving a very flat featured face after that. "And I feel like I will have that problem, a lot."

This time the cluck of her tongue against the roof of her mouth isn't chiding. It's thoughtful. Mrs. Hadley considers him for a moment, then asks, "Did you bump your head that you know of? Turn around, dear, let me have a look." Her fingers do a little twisty turn-about motion in example. "Her name," she adds absently, "Is Abigail Beauchamp. Abby, I believe, is what most people call her. Does that ring any bells at all?"

A grin comes on his features. "Not recently, ma'am. But.. there was an incident. Where I lost my memory from the last two years. So.. you can imagine there are some.. Awkward situations that I'm placed in from time to time." Winters explains, still smiling from her offer to check his head. "Abigail Beauchamp. No. Not really. She seems to know me fairly well, though." Winters gives a shrug. "Listen.. I hope you don't feel like I've come to prey on your friendly disposition and caring nature-well I have, a bit. But I was hoping you could help me."

The wry expression returns. "Young men rarely come to my shop this late at night without wanting something, dear. You tell me what you're hoping for, and I'll let you know if it's something I can give." Mrs. Hadley doesn't press on the issue of his head. She simply straightens up and folds her hands together, waiting patiently for the shoe to drop.

"I'm willing to work. Help you out. I can be very helpful… I'm probably the hardest working, most effective worker you would ever have. But what I'm trying to ask is. I have no place to stay. I lied about losing my wallet. Through complications that I would be most appreciative if you didn't ask about right now, I have been cut off from all my funds. And I don't know anyone." Winters says, a tad pathetically, putting it on a little thicker than he had originally intended.

She simply studies him for a long moment, expression musing. When Mrs. Hadley stirs, it's to inform, "Well, I can use a bit of help, I suppose, but you'll need to follow a few basic rules while you're working here." She doesn't actually list the rules quite yet, only goes on, "And you can't sleep here, dear. That wouldn't be appropriate at all. However, we'll go upstairs and I'll get my little phone book, and I'll see if I can find someone in the neighborhood who'd be willing to help you with a bed for a little while until you're back on your feet." She lifts a hand to shake a finger at him. "None of this is permanent! But we can help you get yourself up again, I should think."

"I prefer to keep my exposure to many people.. limited. I can't explain all the details of my situation, Mrs.Hadley, but I do have reasons for avoiding more attention than I can avoid. I could sleep right behind the counter if you prefer. Or anywhere, really. Sleeping on the ground, is quite fine. But if it's something you would rather avoid, I could of course, find something else." There has to be other charitable people in New York, right?

Her lips thin. It makes Mrs. Hadley look rather severe for a moment, and more than a little disapproving. "If you axe-murder me in my sleep," she informs in a sharp tone, "I will be /quite/ upset with you. Come along then. Put those nasty guns of yours down behind the counter, I won't have them in my home." And with that, she's turning to head for the stairs.

Pulling up his sweatshirt, the gun is taken from the holster there, the clip ejected into his hand as he steps around the counter. Crouching down he goes to deposit the weapon and its ammunition magazine behind the counter. The way he handles the weapon is militaristic, how a police officer, or some other similar type would handle a gun rather than a thug. His second firearm is pulled out, the same method done and finally a silencer is pulled out from his shoe. Setting it beside the two weapons, he finally grabs a switchblade out of his other shoe and sets it with the rest of the weapons. Once this is done, he finally turns to follow Mrs. Hadley. "Thank you Mrs. Hadley. You won't regret it. I swear."

"Oh, I probably will," she grumbles as she climbs the stairs. The railing is used heavily on her part to get up there; going up is much harder than staying level. A flip of a switch on the way up turns the lights on: it's visible through the crack beneath the door. "You may stay here the one night," Mrs. Hadley adds over her shoulder to him. "And tomorrow we'll see about finding you somewhere more permanent. There are shelters, and I think Mr. Woodson down the block has a spare room he'd like to rent out for a little extra cash. He's a quiet man, a bachelor, so you'd fit in just right." A key is tugged free of her pocket to unlock the door, and up she steps into the apartment above.

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